By Peter Gardiner
CEO Samaritans Foundation

This week we recognise National Close the Gap Day on March 16. It’s a very important day that highlights the unacceptable equality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and non-Indigenous Australians. Equal access to healthcare is a basic human right; however this is sadly not the reality in Australia. Statistics reveal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People can expect to live up to 10-17 years less than non-Indigenous Australians.

The National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) between the Commonwealth of Australia and all states and territories, frames the task of Closing the Gap in Indigenous disadvantage. Creating positive change requires a long-term generational commitment and continuous collaboration and consultation with our First Nations Peoples is paramount. The provision of adequate long term funding to invest in primary health care, health education and the prevention and management of disease for Australia’s First Nations Peoples is crucial.

At an individual level we can all play a role in strengthening the movement to Close the Gap. Strong and sustained public support has proven to put Indigenous health equality on the agenda of State and Federal Governments. You can show your support by calling on the Australian Government to honour their commitments and take immediate action to make health equality a reality for our First Nations Peoples. Click here to sign the pledge.

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